Clock is ticking on bid to send pot clubs question to Denver voters

Proposal led by Denver NORML chapter would allow cannabis use at private clubs, special events that obtain permit

Marijuana reform advocates have begun collecting signatures to place a Denver social use initiative on the November ballot.

If approved by voters, the measure would create an ordinance allowing consumption of marijuana — but not sales — at private social clubs and during private events if organizers obtain a permit.

The Denver chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws filed the proposed ballot measure with the Denver Elections Division, which accepted a slightly tweaked version late last week.

To place it on the ballot, the Responsible Use Denver committee organized by NORML must submit at least 4,726 verified voter signatures by mid-August.

“Denver voters want this, and we are going to make it happen,” Jordan Person, the NORML chapter’s executive director, said in a news release. “Denver residents and visitors deserve the right to enjoy legal marijuana with like-minded adults in social settings.”

Denver NORML’s initiative would restrict entry to licensed clubs and permitted events to people 21 or older. Cannabis clubs could not double as bars or restaurants, and existing bars and restaurants could not play host to permitted events allowing marijuana use.

City officials, who have been lukewarm on sanctioning social consumption of marijuana in Denver, have been in talks with activists and business groups since last summer, when another group pulled a similar social use ballot initiative. Those talks have not yet yielded a public proposal.

Jon Murray: 303-954-1405, jmurray@denverpost.com or @JonMurray

This story was first published on DenverPost.com